If there is one ultimate truth in this world, it is this: as Texans, it is our God-given privilege to gorge ourselves on excellent Mexican food—and to do so frequently.
This is an uncontested fact, a birthright that elevates us as the luckiest people in the world. The only equally sizable state that can claim similar ground is California, and they don’t even come close. That insipid “Baja” swill can’t lay a finger on prime Texan carne asada. So, imagine my shock and bewilderment when I realized the best Mexican meal I’ve ever eaten outside of Mexico was brought to me by a tattooed fellow from Chicago.
My wavering faith was quickly restored as I learned owner Gino Rojas was originally from the Mexican state of Michoacan. My faith was multiplied when I read Rojas’ love for firearms led him away from the Windy City as he heeded the siren call of gun-friendly Fort Worth and proceeded to open an antique firearm shop near the Stockyards.
Sounds like my kind of guy.
His passion for authentic Mexican food led Rojas to open the shiny new Revolver Taco Lounge on West Seventh Street, across the street from the upscale Lucky Strike bowling alley. The nondescript storefront is easy to miss, but missing it would be a tragedy. The sparsely lit interior oozes with sophistication.
Upon entering, you are greeted by a decidedly modern minimalist lounge area with cubed tables and chairs that provide a perfect place to relax with friends. Those more apt to the traditional dining experience can sit at one of the finely decorated white cloth tables. Near the back, patrons can watch the Rojas family prepare mind-bending concoctions with a practiced calm.
Apparently, Rojas’ mother runs the show in the kitchen, and her love shines through in every dish. Across from the kitchen lies a lonely bar; Revolver has yet to acquire its liquor license. At first, this news made me sad. If the cocktails are anything like the food, they will inevitably leave me in tears. My sadness quickly faded as my server informed me that the restaurant is currently BYOB, and if you bring in your own tequila, they will make you an expertly crafted margarita … for free. I took his advice and, on my second visit, came with a large group of friends and a bottle of 1800 Tequila to celebrate my birthday.
On both visits, I was waited on by a courteous man with an Eastern European accent of indeterminate origin. While a little shaky on menu knowledge, he proved to be extremely friendly and helpful, always ensuring my party wanted for nothing. In addition to our waiter, Rojas constantly hovered around the dining room, making friendly conversation and helping us out with menu peculiarities. The sleek one-page menu highlights the best of Mexican cuisine.
This is no Don Pablo’s Mexican Kitchen. This is authentic, soulful food that is both exciting and delicious.
If you don’t know if you have ever tried real Mexican food, this is a great place to start. There is a wide selection of ceviches (usually seafood “cooked” in lime juice, eaten with chips), excellent namesake tacos and beautiful entrées. Rojas told me that all of their fish is sashimi grade, bought daily from a Japanese fish market in Dallas. I ordered the one non-seafood ceviche: the filet mignon. This is basically a Mexican version of steak tartare—a prime cut of beef minced, spiced and served raw and marinated in lime juice (which kills the germs). When I ordered this, Rojas came to my table to woefully inform me they were out of filet mignon. Instead, he would have the ceviche made with Wagyu, or Kobe, beef—at no extra cost, of course. To the steak aficionados, this will quickly be recognized as a small godsend. Wagyu is the best of all cows, producing perfectly marbled, succulent steaks. Needless to say, it was a revelation. For the adventurous eaters, this is a must-try.
I also tried the quail and enchiladas. They were the best I’ve eaten of both in respective categories. The tender, fragile quail meat was marinated in a spicy sauce and served with hand-crafted small enchiladas that contained some sort of excellent cheese. By this point, I was too consumed with glee to care what kind of cheese it was.
On another visit, I tried the chicken mole. For the uninitiated, mole is a spicy Mexican pepper sauce with a hint of chocolate and a rich flavor. While our American palates may find the chocolate aspect a little unnerving, I urge you to be brave; your courage will absolutely be rewarded (it honestly doesn’t taste that much like chocolate.) This was perhaps my favorite entree.
The chicken leg was fall-off-the-bone tender; the sauce complemented it perfectly. The minimalist plating made this dish seem like modern art. It was truly excellent.
The end of our meal left us with stupid blissed-out expressions and miniature food babies. I rarely feel so content and satisfied with a meal. Revolver provides a near transcendental Mexican dining experience. Those new to traditional Mexican will be shocked and awed while even the most jaded, discerning palates will be overwhelmed with crushing joy.